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n. pl. trip·o·lis
A porous, lightweight, siliceous sedimentary rock composed of the shells of diatoms or radiolarians or of finely weathered chert, used as an abrasive and a polish.
[French, probably after TripoliLebanon.]
1. A historical region of northern Africa roughly coextensive with the ancient region of Tripolitania. It became part of the Barbary States in the 16th century and later passed to Turkey and Italy.
2. A city of northwest Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea north-northeast of Beirut. Probably founded after the seventh century bc, it was capital of a Phoenician federation and later flourished under the Seleucid and Roman empires. Tripoli was captured by the Arabs in ad 638 and taken by the Crusaders in 1109 after a long siege.
3. The capital and largest city of Libya, in the northwest part of the country on the Mediterranean Sea. Settled by Phoenicians from Tyre, it has Roman and Byzantine remains.
Tri·pol′i·tan (trĭ-pŏl′ĭ-tn) adj. & n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.